Allahabad HC strikes down SC/ST Act Amendment Barring Appeals after Expiry of 180 Days

Team SoOLEGAL 11 Oct 2018 12:00pm

Allahabad HC strikes down SC/ST Act Amendment Barring Appeals after Expiry of 180 Days

In a big relief for those who could not challenge a lower court’s order after the expiry of 180 days – in line with the second proviso to Section 14A (3) of the SC/ST Act – a Full bench of the Allahabad HC has struck down the second proviso of Section 14A (3) of the Act.

The Bench held that a January 2016 amendment in the SC/ST Act that restrains High Courts from entertaining an appeal against lower court’s orders after 180 days was ‘unconstitutional’.

The second proviso lays down that no appeals challenging orders of the Special Courts and Executive Special Courts shall be entertained after the expiry of a period of 180 days.

While deciding on the issue, a bench consisting of Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale and Justices Ramesh Sinha and Yashwant Varma observed:

We declare that the second proviso to Section 14A (3) is clearly violative of both Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, as it takes away the right of the first appeal.”

It is not just manifestly arbitrary, it has the direct and unhindered effect of taking away the salutary right of a first appeal which has been recognised to be an integral facet of fair procedure enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. The absence of discretion in the Court to consider condonation of delay even where sufficient cause may exist renders the measure wholly capricious, irrational and excessive. It is consequently struck down,” the bench further added.

Tagged: Allahabad High Court   Second Proviso to Article 14A(3)   Appeal Provision   Chief Justice DB Bhosale   Justice Ramesh Sinha   Justice Yashwant Varma   SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act   Allahabad HC  
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